Dog Tales! Kabul Cafe! Vanessa Nicolson!

Dog TalesIt’s just two weeks until WhitLit, Whitstable’s very own literary festival, now in its third year. There are some absolutely superb events and guest authors – festival director Victoria Falconer has surpassed herself – so do check out the website for a full calendar. I am hosting three events that touch on my three main passions – dogs, Afghanistan and memoirs! If you’d like to come along and hear from some extremely interesting people who also happen to be great authors (and support me) I would be grateful.

1. Saturday, May 14th. Whitstable Library Lecture Room, 10.30am – 11.30am, £5.50. Kent based BBC vet Jo Hardy and Ramsgate novelist Andrea Bennett chat to Marnie Summerfield Smith about the importance of pets, and dogs especially, in our lives, and the joys and sorrows they share with us. Andrea Bennett’s debut novel, ‘Galina Petrovna’s Three-Legged Dog Story’ features Galina, a 70-something heroine, who sets out to free her beloved pet from the clutches of the town’s dog warden, and embarks on an adventure that will change her life. Jo Hardy’s ‘Tales from a Young Vet’, is the story of how Jo, star of BBC2’s Young Vets got to grips with animals big and small, on the road to becoming a fully qualified vet. Together, both writers will explore our relationship with our pets and their importance to our lives. (I have read Jo’s book, still reading Andrea’s. Jo’s is an absolutely charming window into the life of a vet – laughter and tears – I loved it!)

Vanessa Nicolson2. Saturday, May 14th. Horsebridge Centre, 1.30pm to 2.30pm £5.50. Living with a Literary Legacy – Vanessa Nicolson. Vanessa Nicolson is the granddaughter of Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson. Born to an illustrious name and an unhappy marriage, her father, the art historian Ben Nicolson, was homosexual and his marriage to Vanessa’s Italian mother fell apart when Vanessa was young. In her powerful memoir about love and loss, she chronicles her disjointed childhood and reckless youth, including holidays at Sissinghurst Castle, her experiences at English boarding school and her daughter Rosa, who died, aged 19. Vanessa Nicolson was an art historian and curator. Her publications include ‘The Sculpture of Maurice Lambert’ commissioned by the Henry Moore Foundation. She lives in Sissinghurst, Kent.
(I have read Vanessa’s book and it is hands down one of the best memoirs I have ever read. It is honest, gentle, bleak and ultimately in that way that memoirs can be – a truly nourishing gift to its readers.)

Heidi Kingstone3. Sunday, May 15th, Whitstable Library Lecture Room, 1pm to 2pm, £5.50. Dispatches from the Kabul Cafe – Heidi Kingstone. Where can you buy 913 Kalashnikovs? How do you tell a friend her expat lover is never coming back? What’s it like to date a mercenary? In 2007, Canadian journalist Heidi Kingstone arrived in Kabul to uncover the mysteries of this turbulent corner of the world. Heidi talks to Marnie Summerfield Smith about her encounters with idealists, gunrunners and warlords. A passionate advocate for women’s rights, she witnessed women as heroes, victims, freeloaders, and rivals. Heidi’s account of ISAF-controlled Kabul is atmospheric, personal and often painful. Heidi Kingstone is a foreign correspondent who has interviewed key international figures from Benjamin Netanyahu to Princess Anne. (I have nearly finished Heidi’s book and it is utterly gripping and truly fascinating – a view into a world rarely seen.)

 

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Dear Marnie

All I knew was: I wanted to share my story, write my memoirs. I Googled ghostwriter and Marnie was the first person I contacted. Marnie made such a great first impression that I felt no need to look any further.

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Anthea McCarten

I found Marnie to be such an affable person. Not only that, but she gave me the confidence to finish my memoir.

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Martin Davies

Marnie is a truly special person with a wonderful gift. She is sincere and compassionate. I loved working with her. My book was rather complicated.

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Suzannah Ridgway

Thank you so much for the edit. It was actually perfect. There were places where I knew the words were not quite right but I somehow couldn’t find a way to fix it and it’s exactly where you edited so I’m chuffed about that.

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Anon

(My life) was a living nightmare. Thanks for listening to it and helping me come to terms with it and enabling me to write this story.

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Anon

A very good service. As well as helping us write our memoirs about our adventures as wartime entertainers, Marnie arranged for us to be interviewed on BBC Radio 4, and organised a wonderful book launch for us at the Churchill Theatre, Bromley.

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Mollie and Peggie

Marnie helped my father to edit his memoir Once A Sapper Always A Sapper. He really enjoyed working with her and looked forward to her visits.

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Sam

This book that was written with Marnie, has totally opened the door and changed my whole outlook on life.

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Brian

Marnie is a delightful lady and immediately made my Dad feel relaxed and start to chat about his life and wartime experiences.

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Michael

I’d like to say how much I enjoyed reading my aunt’s memoirs that Marnie collated and wrote.

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Diana

I’d just like to say a huge thank you for the dedication and passion you gave while ghostwriting with me.

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Anon

I am amazed at what you’ve done. I’m excited. I think my memoir will be wonderful.

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JK

This is something I have been waiting to do for a long time, but when I lost my sight I thought that was it. And then I found Your Memoir.

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Jan

All the books we ordered have sold and people are asking for further copies. People have been so interested! We’re really happy with everything Marnie did.

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John

Marnie has the superb ability to write as if she is inside your head – and your heart. Marnie gave me new hope when I was struggling to write my own book.

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SB

I came to Marnie for editing and printing of my life story. I could never have hoped to do the excellent job that Marnie did.

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Gerard

Marnie ghosted our memoir of motorbiking around Europe for charity. The whole experience was very relaxed. Marnie was very friendly and accomodating yet professional.

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Jane and Reg

Home From War is a very moving and touching story of love triumphing over all that life dealt this young soldier. A very captivating read, could not put it down. Would recommend this book.

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Amazon

Home From War is a truly inspirational and moving account of how love can conquer even the hardest things.

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Amazon

I received your book. It is absolutely fabulous. I really enjoyed reading the letters from my grandfather to you.

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Lloyd

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